Session includes retirements, new Senior Center appointment
By Terry Duffy
As municipalities and businesses continue social distancing adjustments in response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the Lewiston Town Board conducted its first regular meeting open to the public on Monday at Town Hall.
The reconfigured session saw Town Board members as well as visitors adhering to strict social distancing guidelines by means of wearing masks as well as separation protocols throughout the meeting. Since early March, previous sessions were broadcast online via Zoom and closed to the public.
Newsmakers included Supervisor Steve Broderick and board members accepting with appreciation and regret two announced retirements. They include court officer Greg Schuey, who retired April 20 from the Lewiston Town Court, and part-time officer and investigator John Penzotti from the Lewiston Police Department, effective July 1.
“Please accept this letter of resignation effective July 1 from the Lewiston Police Department,” Penzotti wrote to LPD Chief Frank Previte. “This once again has been a very difficult decision to make, but I feel that this time it is best for me and my family. Thank you again for the opportunity to serve as a part-time officer and investigator. My heart and prayers will always be with my brothers and sisters of the Lewiston Police Department.”
Thanking him for his service, Broderick commented, “John retired from us (earlier) and came back in a part-time capacity; you’ll still see him in our community.”
Penzotti remains as a member of Lewiston Fire Co. No. 1.
Next, the Town Board announced the appointment of Melinda Olick as the new senior center coordinator for the Town of Lewiston Senior Center. Olick takes over from Jeanette Collesano who retired as director of the Senior Center earlier this spring.
In introducing Olick, Councilman Bill Geiben stated the new coordinator passed extended reviews and Niagara County Civil Service vetting to emerge as the town’s top candidate for the new position.
“The top candidates were surveyed for (their) interest and ability, and understand they will have to meet the town’s residency requirement. Interviews were conducted, references checked, a candidate was selected and agreed to accept the position. (The) COVID-19 pandemic hit and everything was out of order,” he said.
Geiben noted Carol Jacobs took over as interim director following Collesano’s retirement, but could only serve for 90 days in this position due to Civil Service requirements.
“A thank you to Carol Jacobs for all she did during this very difficult and unusual time,” he said.
Of Olick, Geiben spoke highly on her diverse background.
“The town’s new senior citizen coordinator comes with experience in both aging populations and government procedures. It is with pleasure that I introduce Melinda Olick as the Town of Lewiston senior citizen coordinator.”
Olick begins her service with the Lewiston Senior Center on July 1. Her pay rate approved Monday by the Town Board will be $50,352 annually.
In other news, the Town Board heard from developers of two major patio home projects in the Lewiston: Dominick Massaro representing the Legacy Drive patio home project now underway, and the Savarino group representing Essex Ridge patio home development expected to break ground off Bronson Drive at Upper Mountain Road. Both appeared before the Town Board to seek approval covering minor adjustments for their respective projects, according to Attorney for the Town Tom Seaman.
“You guys have before you two different resolutions that I drafted. Both of them are seeking a request from the town to make minor adjustments to the planned unit developments that have already been approved by the town,” he told board members.
Seaman related that provisions exist in the town code for the board to approve “a minor adjustment to the PUD plan … pursuant to Lewiston Town Code Sect. 360-124M.”
Following limited discussion, board members went on to approve a modification for the Legacy Drive PUD covering parking issues. They then approved the PUD modification for Essex Ridge.
“The patios at Essex Ridge are receiving a slightly different modification encountered during their development,” Seaman said.
Broderick related those involve a change in the number of homes under phase one from 30 to 35 residences, and planned pipe installation and the covering of a ditch in the rear of the development following phase one construction to enable a start for phase two.
Deputy Supervisor Bill Conrad advised the board that change (30 to 35 homes in phase one) was merely an adjustment of those home numbers from phase two of the Essex PUD construction.
“They’re not increasing density or anything on phase one. It’s just basically a different outline – a delineation from phase one to phase two,” he said.
With regard to phase two, the board also approved for the Savarino group to clear grub and vegetation for the building of a roadway planned off Bronson Drive to enable phase two of construction to get underway.
•Town Councilman Al Bax and Wastewater Treatment Plant Administrator Jeff Ritter advised the board of planned liquid smoke testing to be conducted on select sewers in the town to check for leaks and any infiltration issues.
“If a resident is to be impacted by this study, they will receive a notice and frequently asked questions” information from the town, Bax said.
“I just want everybody to be aware that we’re going to be putting liquid smoke inside of the sewer, and the smoke will find its way out of any holes or problems with the sewer system,” Ritter said. “That’s totally nontoxic, but it’s good to let everybody know.”
Planned streets for testing, set to begin in coming weeks, include: Mountain View Drive, Woodland Drive, Forrest Road, James Road, Mayflower Road, Callan Drive and Upper Mountain Road.
According to information available on the town website (www.townoflewiston.us): “In the upcoming weeks, a field crew from KHEOPS Architecture, Engineering and Survey, DPC will conduct smoke testing of your neighborhood’s sanitary sewer system. Inspection crews will be opening manholes in the streets and easements.
“Smoke testing of the sewer lines will be conducted to locate breaks and defects within the system. The testing will consist of placing a machine with liquid smoke over a manhole and blowing the smoke into the sewer lines. Any smoke that you may see coming from the vent stacks on houses or holes in the ground during testing is white, non-toxic, has little odor, creates no fire hazards, & will dissipate rapidly. If you see any smoke inside your home, please notify the field crew immediately. This non-invasive test does not typically require private property access and will take place weekdays, 7 a.m. -5 p.m.”
For more information, including FAQs and additional contacts, visit the town website listed above.